I tried Veganuary for my family and friends.
Don’t get me wrong; none of them are vegan. I felt if I told them I was vegan for just a month, they would cope better than if I told them it was forever. Turning up with a carton of almond milk and a couple of recipes was much less frightening for them than announcing they would need a lifetime’s worth of vegan dinners.
I’ve been vegetarian for over 25 years and was diagnosed with coeliac disease eight years ago. I appreciate how hard it is for people to cook for me. I can’t help but feel guilty for giving people extra work. I have always eaten a lot of vegan food at home and had been creeping gradually closer to veganism. The final push I needed was when I started working for Dean Farm Trust, a charity that promotes compassionate living (I hadn’t really revisited my decision to be vegetarian that I made as a teenager). Part of my job involves producing information for our website, and to hand out at fairs, to help people make compassionate choices. I felt the time was right and the Veganuary menus took a lot of the planning out of the process. I’m probably representative of a lot of vegetarians who need help with that final push to veganism.
I have to say, I was concerned about being a vegan who is coeliac. So much vegan food you see in the shops is made with wheat. Was I the only coeliac crazy enough to consider being vegan too? Even gluten free bread usually has egg white in it. Veganuary was a chance for me to experiment with lots of recipes I’d been meaning to try, particularly for bread replacements – not a problem most vegans have luckily. The forum was a great source of information and support as, lo and behold, there were at least three other coeliacs who were giving veganism their best shot. I was not alone! I even found some great recipe sites for plant-based nutrition that were gluten free too. In fact, I am enjoying cooking and eating food more than I have since being diagnosed as coeliac. So many vegan recipes are geared up to include a gluten free alternative, and I’ve found all sorts of options for replacing that boring old sandwich for lunch.
I knew I would stay vegan beyond Veganuary. Yes, I have lost half a stone since but I already ate really healthily and felt good… My story isn’t a dramatic one, with an amazing before and after shot. What Veganuary gave me was a month to show those around me:
- I could cook them delicious food
- They already cooked me quite a bit of vegan food
- It wasn’t too scary having a vegan (coeliac!) in the family.
So if you are vegetarian and want to be vegan, use Veganuary to help ease the way – for you and other people. I’ve also learnt that whatever you’re struggling with, there is always someone else in the same boat. Come and join us!